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Caesar Salad, Jazzy-Style

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ABOUT THE RECIPE:

Caesar Salad, Jazzy-Style has classic taste, but it’s vegan! This flavorful salad features homemade croutons, combined with a creamy, tofu-based dressing. However, if you are cooking soy-free, you will find a delicious, alternative nut-based dressing recipe (below) too!

Makes 4 to 6 servings

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INGREDIENTS:

SALAD
12 cups lightly packed romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and cut into bite-size pieces

CROUTONS
5 to 6 slices whole-grain bread
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend
Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing, (recipe below)
1 tablespoon Cashew Parmesan (recipe below), plus more for serving (optional)

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INSTRUCTIONS:

Cover and refrigerate the prepared lettuce to allow it to crisp up.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper. Cut each slice of bread into nine equally sized pieces. Put the bread cubes, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning in a medium bowl and stir gently to evenly coat the bread cubes. (See note.)

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, turning once, until the bread is golden and crisp. Put the baking sheet on a wire rack. Let the croutons cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

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Put the dressing in a large bowl. Add lettuce and croutons. Toss well to thoroughly coat the lettuce and croutons with the dressing. Sprinkle with Cashew Parmesan (if using). Serve immediately with more optional Cashew Parmesan served on the side.

Chef's note: If you like, you can toss the bread cubes with 2 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil before baking.

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VEGAN CAESAR DRESSING
Makes 4 to 6 servings

8 ounces firm regular tofu, drained
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons capers, drained and rinsed
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 medium clove garlic
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Put all of the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth and creamy. If the dressing seems too thick, add a bit of water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to achieve the desired consistency.

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WALNUT CAESAR DRESSING

½ cup water, plus more if needed
1/3 cup chopped walnuts or raw cashews, plus more if needed
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon capers, drained
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Put all of the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth and creamy. If the dressing seems too thick, add a bit of water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to achieve the desired consistency. If dressing seems a bit thin, add a few more more walnuts or cashews too achieve the desired consistency.

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CASHEW PARMESAN

1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan pink salt, plus more as needed

Put the cashews and salt in a blender and process in brief pulses until the consistency of crumbled Parmesan cheese is achieved. Don't overprocess, or the mixture will turn into cashew butter. Taste and add more salt, if desired. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to two days.

VARIATION: Cashew Lemon Parmesan: Along with the cashews and salt, add 1 teaspoon of lemon zest to the blender. Proceed as directed.